In March I celebrated 20 years of pastoral ministry. Prior to coming to Woodstock, GA I served 10.5 years in Mansfield Ohio leaving to move to Woodstock 7 years ago to launch a church to reach the unchurched of Woodstock and the surrounding communities.
Over the past 7 years with the help and leadership of a great staff and dozens of volunteers we have grown from two families meeting at a coffee shop to a four year season of being a portable church meeting at a theater to finally meeting at our current location having two service options on Sunday mornings. I am happy where we have come from but know God has great plans for where He is taking us and I am excited to be used by Him to lead Momentum Church along with our team into the next season God has for us.
Have you ever noticed sometimes to go forward you have to pull back a bit first?
Over the past few weeks I have been preaching on the importance of rest and the need for daily diversions, weekly withdraws, and annual abandonments. The same God that gave us the “thou shalt nots” in essence also said numerous times “thou shalt rest”. With that in mind our Executive Advisory Team feels that rest for a pastor is very important, not only do they feel that, the Superintefndent of the GA District of the Assemblies of God, Pastor Rick Collins feels that. Pastor Rick has started a new program encouraging our District pastors to take an extended break after 7 years. Pastor Rick Collins has encouraged me to take a season of rest to pull back and get ready for the next wave of what God desires to do right here at Momentum Church. His exact quote was,”Ross take this time and I guarantee you will come back in August a better pastor for it.”
So what does this time away look like? Is this like an extended vacation or what? In professional circles it is known as a sabbatical. In the context of pastoral ministry:
A sabbatical is an extended leave of absence from the daily leadership and weekly preaching for the purpose of renewing the pastor and his family, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Starting tomorrow I will not engage in any church business or ministry for a period of 30 days. Our pastoral staff will lead Momentum Church during this time along with help and advisement from Momentum’s Executive Advisory Team. My first time back in the pulpit will be August 5th.
Already God has given me a word for this body that you will not want to miss on that day.
Please pray for me over the next 4 weeks. Will I experience vacation time?….certainly. Will I find rest with my family?….definitely, but pray for me as I seek God on behalf of myself, my family and our church.
A sabbatical is a time where one checks out long enough that a better awareness of self, God, and God’s plans begins to open up. It’s been a long time since I have been this excited for what is on the horizon of this ministry. We are launching several new ministries between August and the start of the year and we are also getting back to some old purposes that we have drifted from.
Right now I feel fresh, I sense God’s leading and I am excited and ready to move forward into our next season of ministry at Momentum Church, but myself and the leaders in my life sense that I need to pull back for a short” season so that in August I can come back ready to lead this church to the next level of spiritual maturity, servant-hood, and growth.
Thank you for allowing me the honor of serving you as your pastor. I am with you on the journey!
We will see you in a few weeks.
-Pastor Ross & Amie